Every Little Step
The central premise of the Kirkwood-Dante-Kleban-Hamlisch Broadway musical A Chorus Line is by now overly familiar, examining as it does the 17 actors auditioning for spots in a chorus line on the Great White Way. Recalling Donn Pennebaker's Moon Over Broadway and other similar efforts, documentarians Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern's film Every Little Step travels behind the scenes of the auditions for 2006 revival of A Chorus Line to investigate the goings-on and the interplay among the hopefuls. The film thus establishes a neat corollary between the events of the play itself and the offstage experiences of the aspiring tryouts. On top of this, Stern and Del Deo work in a layer that pertains to the original genesis of the show, and its evolution from an idea by Michael Bennett, who recorded an ensemble of dancers speaking confessionally and used that as the basis for everything else. Here, the filmmakers play those original tapes back, on-camera, thus resurrecting old ghosts; score composer Marvin Hamlisch also turns up and revokes the past, courtesy of a revealing and racy little nugget about the history of the tune "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three." Above all else, the film works in extensive footage of the auditions themselves, on songs such as "At the Ballet" and "I Can Do That" -- thus interweaving an aura of suspense throughout the narrative over who will eventually wind up in the production itself. The title of the documentary, of course, is a reference to the lyric of the seminal tune "One" ("One singular sensation, every little step she takes").